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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

Signs You Might Lack Iron (And 9 Iron-Rich Foods for Your Diet)

Signs You Might Lack Iron (And 9 Iron-Rich Foods for Your Diet)

Have you been feeling tired lately, even though you have been getting a good night’s sleep every night? If so, your body may lack iron, causing you to suffer from an iron deficiency without even knowing it, especially if you are a woman. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 10% of women are iron deficient and likely don’t realize it.

Iron deficiency is, fortunately, quite easy to correct with changes to diet and possibly incorporating iron supplements into your daily routine. First, you should learn to identify the symptoms when you lack iron so you know when to go see your doctor.

The Importance of Iron to the Body

While most people don’t consider iron as being a nutrient, it is actually an essential mineral to the human body. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. If your iron levels are low, your body will not get the oxygen it needs to function, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue.

Iron also has other important uses to your body. It is essential in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Furthermore, iron is used in the production of several hormones in the body, meaning that if you lack iron, your mood and overall health may be affected[1].

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Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

If you lack iron, early symptoms may be so mild that they simply go unnoticed. However, as your body becomes more and more depleted of iron and the anemia increases, the signs and symptoms will also increase. Some of the most common iron deficiency symptoms are:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Frequent infections
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt, or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
  • An uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs (restless leg syndrome)

If you or one of your loved ones develops these symptoms and you are unsure what the underlying cause actually is, see your doctor. If you lack iron, it cannot be self diagnosed, and self treatment is, for the most part, limited to what you choose to eat. A doctor will be able to prescribe the best treatment, including diet changes and even iron supplements to return your iron levels back to normal[2].

Iron-Deficiency Anemia

    Five Reasons You May Need Iron Supplements

    There are many reasons why a doctor might prescribe iron supplements[3] to you on top of making changes to your diet in order to get your iron levels back to a normal level.

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    1. You Are Anemic

    Iron deficiency anemia is the lack of iron in your blood that prevents it from transporting oxygen to all the cells in your body. There are many causes of this condition, ranging from cancer to menstruation. While you should also investigate the cause, it is important to get your iron levels back to normal to ensure you are as healthy as you can be.

    2. You Are Pregnant

    Women who are pregnant need much more iron than women that aren’t as their body is producing more blood to support the fetus. The recommended daily dose of iron for pregnant women is 27 mg each day. If you cannot get this iron through your diet, doctors will prescribe supplements in order to ensure you don’t lack iron during this critical time.

    3. You Experience Regular Blood Loss

    Anyone who loses a lot of blood will need an iron supplement to return their levels back to normal. People who donate blood regularly need the supplements to ensure that their iron levels stay within the normal range.

    4. You Have an Infant

    Babies build stores of excess iron to be used during the first six months of life because their mother’s milk doesn’t contain enough iron. Most pediatricians recommend a formula that contains iron if you bottle-feed.

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    If your baby was born premature, the iron stores more than likely did not have time to develop. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe an additional iron supplement.

    5. You Take Iron-Depleting Medication

    Some medications will quickly deplete your iron levels and cause you to lack iron in the long-term. In order to prevent this from happening, most physicians will prescribe an iron supplement alongside the medications to reduce the risk of iron deficiency.

    Good Sources of Iron

    Most people get all the iron they need from the foods they eat. By altering your diet, you can increase the amount of iron you get daily without having to take supplements. Some iron-rich foods are:

    • Red meat
    • Pork
    • Poultry
    • Seafood
    • Beans
    • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
    • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
    • Iron-fortified cereals, breads, and pastas
    • Peas

    Before you begin any type of diet, be sure you consult with your doctor or other health care professional to be sure it is safe and the right choice for your health if you lack iron.

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    The Bottom Line

    Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia in the United States. In many cases, it can be easily treatable with the help of your diet and, if needed, iron supplements. After a few days on the supplements, you should start to feel normal again.

    As always, if you don’t feel any different after taking the iron, consult with your doctor and get the help you need to take care of your iron deficiency once and for all.

    More for When You Lack Iron

    Featured photo credit: Shane via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] NIH: Iron
    [2] Health Scope Magazine: Iron Deficiency Anemia
    [3] Healthline: Who Should Take Iron Supplements?

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    Brian Wu

    Health Writer, Author

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    Last Updated on July 12, 2021

    100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

    100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

    Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

    By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

    Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

    83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

      84 write random letter

        85 use a rubberband

          86 dorm smell bad

            87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

              89 how to waterproof your shoes

                90 take a picture of the name card

                  91 iron inside out

                    92 old newspaper

                      93 tumble try shoes

                        keep a card like this

                          SONY DSC

                            94 soap bar

                              95 make a hole

                                96 drop the battery

                                  97 use a coozie

                                    98 when taking a picture

                                      use a clean dust pan

                                        try a pants hanger

                                          use your cellphone light

                                            use a spring from an old pen

                                              quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                user binder clips

                                                  wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                    put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                      clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                        use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                          doritos are great for kindling

                                                            use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                              use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                  use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                    almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                      sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                        unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                          cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                            remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                              turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                  how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                    tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                      place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                        ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                          use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                            take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                              how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                  How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                    user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                      good sandwich guide

                                                                                                        turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                          50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                            the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                              add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                38

                                                                                                                  hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                    stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                      the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                        how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                          the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                            use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                              to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                  a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                    rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                      use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                        50

                                                                                                                                          51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                            52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                              rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                  use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                    58

                                                                                                                                                      59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                        60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                          hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                            Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                              hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                  if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                    keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                      If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                        drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                          use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                            use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                              do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                  dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                    put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                      75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                        use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                          pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                            78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                              79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                  81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                    82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                      99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                        100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                          88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                            There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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